NIZZA LA BELLA HAS CLOSED The well-loved bistro in Albany closed as of July 12. In a note posted on the restaurant’s exterior, Nizza La Bella‘s owner announced that she was ready to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant. The note also thanked the restaurant’s regular customers and listed each employee by name and length of employment. Nizza La Bella specialized in casual cuisine from Nice, France, which has long had an Italian influence. Much of its menu, including its ever-popular pizza, was cooked in a wood-fired oven. The restaurant space is currently on the market, and we will keep you posted as we learn of Nizza’s replacement.
PASSIONE PIZZA LOOKS TO OPEN QUICK-SERVICE SPOT Berkeley-based pizza truck and pizza dough company Passione has submitted plans to build a small lunch and dinner spot called Passione Pizza Emporio at its manufacturing facility in West Berkeley. The restaurant will offer pizzas and “related items” for sale to eat in or take home, plus incidental retail sales of Passione products such as pizza dough. Owner Fabrizio Cercatore wrote in his use permit application that will not only offer additional dining opportunities for his West Berkeley neighbors, but it will also “support the manufacturing” part of the business and will “give Passione’s employees additional employment” opportunities. From the looks of the design plans, Passione Pizza Emporio will be located next the CoRo Café, the upcoming coffee shop from the Bay Area Co-Roasters. We will keep you posted on Passione’s progress. The Passione Pizza Emporio will be at 2324 5th St. (between Bancroft and Channing ways), Berkeley. Connect with the pizzeria on Facebook and Twitter.
BICYCLE COFFEE OPENS UPTOWN CAFÉ Jack London Square-based coffee company Bicycle has opened its second East Bay café at 1745 San Pablo Ave., in the former Mockingbird space. (Mockingbird is moving to a new restaurant space at 416 13th St. It is planning to launch an Indigogo campaign for moving funds, and we’ll keep you posted on its reopening date.) The new Bicycle café is open all day on weekdays and until 1 p.m. on the weekends, and it serves beer in addition to coffee and tea inside and outdoors on its courtyard. It is also hosting what it calls “Whiskey Weekends” on Saturdays and Sundays with Irish coffees (both hot ($6) and iced ($7)), shots of Jameson for $5, and an Olympia beer and breakfast burrito combo for $6. Bicycle Coffee Café is at 1745 San Pablo Ave. (at 18th Street), Oakland. Connect with the coffee shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
REVIVAL GETTING A COFFEE WINDOW In other coffee news, downtown Berkeley’s Revival Bar and Kitchen is partnering with Oakland-based Highwire Coffee Roasters to open a coffee window on its Addison Street side. The project should see a quick turnaround; in the restaurants’ use permit application, restaurant operations manager Daniel Mayer writes that no construction will be required. He also says that Revival plans to start serving brunch “in the near future.” In the interim, Revival plans to start selling coffee to-go out of its front door in the mornings. Look for it soon. Revival Bar and Kitchen is at 2120 Shattuck Ave (at Addison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
ELI’S MILE HIGH CLUB REOPENS After undergoing an ownership switch and a renovation, Oakland bar Eli’s Mile High Club reopened July 11. Eli’s has been a bar and music venue in the Longfellow neighborhood since the 1970s. It originally operated as a blues bar, hosting the likes of James Brown and Etta James. When the original owner, Troyce Key, died in the early 1990s, the bar went through several ownership shuffles before reemerging as a punk music club in 2011. Last December, the bar changed hands again, but, after its subtle renovation, still looks the part of a punk bar. There’s a bigger bar, bigger front window and a bigger patio, but the walls are graffitied once again (on the bar’s reopening night) and the bar retains its neighborhood vibe. Eli’s Mile High Club is at 3629 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (between 36th and 37th streets), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.
Dinners and events
OAKLAND VS. NAPA COOK-OFF Three Oakland chefs are headed to Napa Valley on Saturday for a cook-off competition against a trio of Napa-based chefs at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Sophia Uong (Calavera), Rocky Maselli (A16 Rockridge) and Mani Niall (Sweet Bar Bakery) will be onstage with Vincenzo Scarmiglia (Bistro Don Giovanni), Ken Frank (La Toque) and Annie Baker (Annie the Baker) in a “course-by-course throw down guaranteed to leave everyone salivating,” according to the event’s host, Festival Napa Valley. A panel of celebrity judges will critique each dish and announce the winner. Tickets are $99 for the event; find more information here. Culinary Institute of America Greystone is at 2555 Main St., St. Helena.
WEST BERKELEY NOW HAS A FOOD TOUR You can now get to know West Berkeley’s booming, creative food scene in a new food tour called “A Taste of West Berkeley.” The tour is led by chef Terry Betts (Josephine), and it covers a fairly wide swath of the neighborhood. Each Wednesday afternoon, Betts guides guests along a path that includes Morell’s Bread at the Berkeley Kitchens, June Taylor Jam, Cultured Pickle Shop, Vik’s Chaat, Café Rouge and the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room. Each tour is $65 and lasts about three hours. Learn more here.
What else is going on…
HOPSY ADDS MORE NEW BEER TECH TO ITS LINEUP In case “smart” growler delivery of local craft beer wasn’t enough, Albany-based Hopsy has now added what is essentially a small home kegerator to its lineup. But this is no hacked together cooler system. The new appliance, called HomeTap, will fit on your counter and takes up about as much space as a large toaster oven. The HomeTap was made in collaboration with Krups, makers of Nespresso pod coffee machines, which makes total sense. Hopsy is working with its partner breweries to bottle beers in the company’s specially designed bottles (they look like 2 liter soda bottles, but heavy duty) that fit inside the HomeTap. Unlike Hopsy’s standard growler delivery, the HomeTap system “brings the ultimate taproom experience to any home by giving craft beer lovers the ability to serve their local favorites, as if it were a fresh pour at the brewery,” said Sebastien Tron, Hopsy’s co-founder and CEO, in a statement. The appliance keeps the beer (about eight eight-ounce pours per bottle) fresh for about two weeks once the bottle is tapped. HomeTap is available to customers as a standalone appliance or as part of a $60/month subscription service that includes the appliance and two bottles of HomeTap beer per month, plus a special tasting glass. Learn more about the subscription options here. All of the beers currently in Hopsy’s line-up will be available for the HomeTap appliance. Hopsy is at 1137 Solano Ave. (between Kains and Stannage avenues), Albany. Connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
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